By Melissa Donovan
Part 2 of 2
Digitally printed point of purchase (POP) is more than just a traditional sign. The term encompasses applications like standees and bins, pallet display skirts, corrugated displays, and skid wraps. These forms of promotion serve dual purposes in most senses, for example a bin is practical because the merchandise promoted on the outside is stored inside the display.
PSPs offering POP standees, bins, and displays in this category are generally printing on rigid corrugated materials. While this was once a domain for offset and other forms of analog printing, digital wide format devices are being used especially to cater to small runs and limited versions of product.
Fruits and Veggies
Savco Worldwide Inc., based in Toronto, Canada, is a distributor of fresh produce in Canada and the U.S. It markets products under two brands—H20 Melon and EAT! pumpkin, corn, cauliflower, and grapes. The produce is sourced from growers in North America and even as far away as Africa.
Growing season for certain types of produce can be short and in any event, freshness is imperative. Savco needs to ensure the packaging for these products is delivered to the individual growers in a timely fashion to eliminate food waste or shipping non-fresh product. But, it is more than just timeliness. Being a smaller distributor, Savco also requires high-quality printed packaging to standout against its competition.
When it came time to look into options for large retail display bins for the H20 Melon line, Savco started researching print processes like lithography and flexography. “For a long time, I wanted to make our produce bins more attractive, with vibrant color graphics, but the high front-end plate costs and the limited flexibility in design changes created a major barrier to agility,” explains Sav Tsoukalas, president, Savco.
Once it learned about digital printing, the Savco team was impressed with the technology’s high-quality, full-color graphics as well as the ease and cost effectiveness in creating multiple versions. For the packaging, vinyl bin covers were initially considered, however even with digital printing there were high costs involved. In addition, merchandisers that Savco regularly worked with thought the set up of a vinyl bin cover was too time consuming.
Tsoukalas was put in touch with Hummingbird, the digital print division of Georgia-Pacific, with headquarters in Cincinnati, OH. The company provided him with a demonstration of its HP Inc. PageWide T1100 Series Press. “I was impressed with the ease of setup, the color graphics with smooth halftones, the capability for fast turnaround, and the rigorous quality control that was performed,” notes Tsoukalas.
According to Hummingbird, the HP PageWide T1100 Series Press helps shippers get products to market 80 percent faster than traditional printing and manufacturing methods. “The growing and buying seasons for some produce can be just a few weeks. The HP PageWide digital printing solution gives us the agility to quickly provide our farmers with up-to-date packaging for shipment to retail stores nationwide,” says Tsoukalas.
After seeing the press in action, it was determined that digitally printed corrugated bins would be the best option for the H20 Melon product. Once the decision was made to go forward with printing, Hummingbird got to work. A top liner was printed on the HP PageWide T1100 Series Press with food-safe, water-based inks. The printed liner was attached to a flute and bottom liner, and then the sheets were cut, folded, and glued into shape.
Hummingbird ended up printing 40×48-inch octagonal bins capable of holding up to 700 pounds of produce in 2018. Graphics varied between three designs, as the job required bins for Savco’s H20 Melon watermelons and H20 Melon Drops mini-watermelons. Essential for the brand was vibrant color and high-definition imagery. The graphics represent clean, clear water to support Savco’s values.
While initial goals of faster speed to market and design flexibility were met, a bonus to using the HP PageWide T1100 Series Press was its eco-friendliness. The bins are priced for single use, printed with water-based inks, and fully recyclable. In relation to this, Savco’s sustainability profile is raised, helping it meet environmental stewardship requirements of distributors and win contracts.
After the success of the first run of bins, Savco expanded its order for H20 Melon to eight versions in 2019. The goal was to not only include differentiated graphics but also quick response codes with geo-location links that connect the melons in the bins to the farms where they were grown.
According to Tsoukalas, the goal with this initiative was to provide farmers with the opportunity to publicize local businesses and locations to the consumers of their produce—making for a true partnership.
The Customer Perspective
Seeing the benefits of digital print through a customer’s experience is always eye opening. Savco’s testimony of Hummingbird’s with the HP PageWide T1100 Series Press is a great example of this. Using the press allowed for high-quality graphics, which helps attract buyers in a crowded environment. The digital print aspect was also beneficial for versioning, as bins were completed for different types of watermelons.
Sep2020, Digital Output